A week after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) subpoenaed Halliburton to find out what goes into the chemicals it uses for fracking, the city of Pittsburgh has taken another shot at the natural gas industry.
The New York Times is reporting that Pittsburgh’s city council voted unanimously this week to ban all natural gas drilling within the city’s boundaries. This news makes Pittsburgh the first city in Pennsylvania to outright ban fracking.
Fracking is a process that involves pumping chemicals into underground rock formations to break up the formations and access natural gas. Upstate New York, parts of Ohio and much of Pennsylvania are believed to have abundant reserves of natural gas.
As fracking production has increased, so too have concerns about the process. Most of the concerns surround the chemicals used in the process; opponents of the process say the chemicals contaminate air and water supplies. Still, the industry is growing and many in the region are happy to take money from natural gas companies during these difficult economic times. Still, no conclusive tests have surfaced about the safety of the practice, and without better knowledge of the make-up of the fracking chemicals, it is difficult to predict.
But Pittsburgh isn’t waiting for tests. The city has made its choice. It will be interesting to see if other cites in the state follow.
Related on MNN: What is fracking? An explainer of hydraulic fracturing